Friday, December 21, 2007

Ten Car Train: E. B. Satt

Update: Perhaps as a result of my good-natured (I hope) needling, "E. B. Satt" has abandoned said pseudonym in favor of good old Jason, over on Ten Car Train. I'm going to let the title of this post stand, but I figured I'd clear up any potential confusion now.

If you head over to Ten Car Train, you'll find some pretty cool stuff. You'll also find E. B. Satt - or Jason Sattler, or whatever else he's calling himself. I can't figure it out, but hey, I go by a handle too, so who am I to talk.

Anyway, Satt's stuff isn't just cool - it's excellent. OK, I lied, it's actually somewhat hit-or-miss, but some of it is really excellent.

Like his story A Single Drop of Water Helps to Swell the Ocean, or How I Need a Hand in Mine to Feel, which may be his best piece on the site (I'm not 100%, because I'm not entirely certain that I've read every one of them).

The stories are somewhat reminiscent of Jeffery Harrell's - over at Lies that are true (He's currently selling his book, so buy it, but he says the stories will be back up for free sometime at the start of 08).
The prose is soft, and somewhat conversational. That's not to say that it feels like dialogue, but neither does it feel like a diary. Still, you get the feeling that the narrator is talking to you, and that they're real.

I know I'm not the only person to be uncertain whether these were stories, or real life tales like those of Sedaris.

That's what they're like.
I'm not doing a good job articulating this, and I haven't even mentioned the tragic-but-commonplace themes of the stories. You should go read the stories and come back to me with your thoughts.

Oh, and if you like them, you might also check out A Softer World.

6 comments: said...

That is some nice work over at Ten Car Train. Not really to my taste, so much. (I'm a genre guy -- okay, I'm a SF dork -- but I also used to be an English major back in the day, so I guess I can appreciate capital-L literature.)

There's a little too much look-this-is-earnest-and-meaningful hipness in the storytelling, but Satt's writing is very tight and has an appealing, lyrical rhythm to it, and any time a short story can draw such a strong reaction like the ones evident in the comments to that blog post, it means that it's getting through to *somebody*.

Thanks for doing the legwork to point out some of these writers.


Chris said...

If you like A Softer World, you might also enjoy the webcomic, Tiny Ghosts, which has similar sensibilities.

Sebatinsky said...

You got a similar feel from Satt as myself, then - though you seem to have liked him a bit less. Like I said in my post, I find him very hit-or-miss, but sometimes he hits very nicely, and 'critic mode' gets turned off.
That's the mark of an engaging story as far as I'm concerned.

Thanks. I've seen Tiny Ghosts, and I like it OK, but it feels derivative of A Softer World, and usually flatter. I don't actually know which one came first or if either author saw the other's work, but that's the feel I get.

Pete Nicely said...

Hi, I'm Jason, and I think I'm the guy you're writing about.

Glad I saw this. Gladder it was written.

I like "soft prose," and I definitely deserved to be derided if I'm being earnest yet meaningful.

In my defensiveness: I'm writing a story a week right now, so "hit or miss" is a pretty fair assessment.

You linked to two of stories I like best. Those are among the four or five I've written since I started the column in July might have a bit going for them.

I wouldn't overestimate anything based on on the reaction in the comments. I do whatever I can to get the stories out.

And a link like this from the women's forum on a white supremacist site can generate way more hubub than a good story.

Looking forward to reading more of this blog.

P.C.: Some of my older stories are at

Sebatinsky said...

My goodness, is there no end to the psudonyms?

*grin* Again, not that I have room to talk.

Anyway, I'm not making any judgments about why I sometimes find your stories very engaging and sometimes not so much. What I will say is that even stories that don't impress me very much as a complete unit often contain little wondrous gems.

A good for instance is your most recent story. As a whole, I thought it was OK, but nothing terribly impressive.
Despite this, your descriptions of Meyer were golden.

I was also pretty touched by the Christmas scene that Meyer gave our little narrator - it felt real, and so all the more meaningful than some over-perfect child's story where every detail is magically correct.

So, all things said and done, I'm glad you're writing a story a week. Each one is good enough to enjoy, and some of them are exquisite.

The more the better.

Pete Nicely said...
This comment has been removed by the author.